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County Auditors and Treasur
ers Meet and Form State
Severe attacks on the present tax
system of the state which was char
acterized as antiquated ard burden
some and the adoption of a resolu
tion calling for radical changes in
the method of penalties to tax pay
ers who do not meet their obligations
in time, featured the organization
meeting of auditors and treasurers
.Following a two hour session in
the afternoon, which was spirited at
times by the discussion in reference
to tax matters, the Association of
County Auditors and Treasurers of
South Carolina was formed last night
with John R. Watson, treasurer of
Dillon county, as president. Walter
E. Duncan , comptroller general, was
chosen first vice president and the
other officers elected were as fol
lows: Sam T. Carter, state treasurer,
second, vice president; Rut L. Os
borne, former comptroller general,
Orangeburg, third vice president;
Wilbur V. Sutherland, former comp
troller general, Columbia, fourth vice
prescient; D. S. Allen, auditor of
Dilion county, secretary and treas
Penalty Question Up.
The afternoon session developed a
spirited discussion on several topics,
mainly the penalty question and the
znatter of too much revenue being
depended upon from the property
tax. Both these -discussions were
carried into the night and the pen
alty situation was hammered from
all sides. T. M. McMichael of Or
angeburg offered a resolution, which
was adopted in its essentials after
teing amended, calling on the legis
lature to change the present method
of assessing penalties. The resoul
tion asks for a straight 5 per cent,
penalty to be placed January 1 and
after 60 days executions go into the
hands of the sheriff under the terms
of the resolution. The legislative com
mittee was instructed to appear be
fore the proper committees in the
general assembly and to see if this
change could be made. County del
egations are also to be asked to vote
for this change as the present 1 per
cent in January, another in February
and five in March was said to be very
unpopular with the officials.
Winston Smith, auditor of Ander
son county, said the prenest penalty
plan was highway robbery and a
"skin game" method. Mr. Smith also
criticized the township boards and
held that the auditors should be al
lowed to say who were to be placed
on these boards. The resolution of
Mr. McMichael had not provided for
a date to place the penalty and an
amount to be fixed and Mr. Smith of
fered an amendment making the date
January 1 and the amount 5 per cent.
This was passed, Mr. Smith leading
the fight for its adoption.
An address by August Kohn of Co
lumbia on "Taxation in South Caro
lina" attracted favorable attention,
Mr. Eohn handling the subject ad
mirably. H? emphasized that the
state has too high a property tax
and must look for new sources of
revenue. Mr. Kohn gave four signal
facts regarding the state as he sees
the situation. The state must con
tinue to grow and must have more
money; the property tax is already
too high; the state must get new
sources of revenue; how to get the
new sources of revenue. The speaker
gave some highly interesting facts
about the property tax, showing that
out of $448,000,000 worth of taxable
property on the tax books more than
52 per cent is on real estate. Out of
$1.84 paid into the state treasury by
every man, woman and child in the
state $1.66 is ,paid on the property
tax, Mr. Kohn said.
Want? "Painless Extraction."
Mr. Kohn favored a "painless ex
traction method of getting new rev
enue, similar to that of the federal
government which took out of South
Carolina nearly $28,000,000 last
year. A tax on gasoline, an inheri
tance tax, a tax on soft drinks, an oc
cupation tax and other similar taxes
were favored by Mr. Kohn, who has
given the problem a great deal of
study. Mr. Kohn also pointed out that
the tax collecting agencies should be
out of politics. This, he said, was es
sential to a good tax system.
In opening the meeting Walter E.
Duncan, comptroller general, made a
short address of welcome to the
auditors and treasurers, and also
pointed out some salient facts that
face these officials today. "There is
danger ahead," Mr. Duncan said,
'and next year, in the face of the ex
isting economic depression and the
attendant hardships upon our people,
the cry is going up from the moun
tains to the sea for relief from the
tax burden. The voice of the political
^ellbinders will be heard in the
land, promising the coveted relief
through the simple expedient of
slashing appropriations, cutting off
this, that, or the other activity-even
though it mean the crippling of in
stitutions as necessary to the public
weal as .is meat and drink to the hu
man "body-and abolishing others
that would arrest and stifle the prog
ress and achievement to which South
Carolina has in recent years turned
hei face as to the noonday sun."
'Mr. Duncan cautioned against the
danger of agitators swaying the peo
ple, not as they should move for their
relief toward constructive tax re
vision but destructively, towards ends
that will bring only a small and in
consequential measure of temporary
relief, if any at all, but "which would
put South Carolina back into educa
tional darkness, back into the sand
ruts and the mudholes, back at the
tail end of American civilization."
A more equal distribution of the tax
burden will largely bring the needed
relief, Mr. Duncan said.
Several speakers told of the old
organization several years back and
then R. A. Ellison, treasurer of
Greenwood county, who worked hard
to get the meeting, told of the plans
and purposes for the new association.
In the afternoon a temporary organ
ization was set up with Comptroller
General Duncan as president and W.
V. Sutherland as secretary, this hold
ing until the permanent organiza
tion at the night session. Several im
promptu speakers were heard, in
cluding Sam T. Carter, state treas
At the night session the two main
addresses were made by Rut L. Os
borne, former comptroller general,
who spoke on "The Penalty, Its As
sessment and. Collection," and W. G.
Query, who spoke on the "South
Carolina Tax Commission." Mr. Os
borne, like a majority of those pres
ent, said the penalty at present was
"dead wrong" and he said he had
tried to get remedy from the legis
lature, but failed: He favored a 5
per cent penalty on January 1 as
was recommended in the resolution.
After Mr. Osborne several others
took the present system to task and
were vigorous in their attacks on it.
Tells of Commission.
Mr. Query in his address spoke of
the equalization the commission had
already done and pointed out that al
ready many millions of dollars had
been placed on the tax books by the
work of the commission. Equaliza
tion of taxes on banks, cotton mills,
power plants, cottonseed oil mills,
fertilizer plants, merchants, horses
and mules and real estate had in
creased the taxes by large amounts
and had also put everybody on the
same basis, Mr. Query said. He also
spoke of the "breaking point" in the
matter of property tax and suggest
ed new sources of revenue. He also
showed that a statewide survey would
place much property that has been es
caping taxation on the books.
R. A. Ellison, Greenwood, spoke
on "Executions," treating this sub
ject only briefly as it was agreed to
leave this matter with the legislative
committee to seek a change from the
next general assembly. A simplified
plan is wanted by the organization.
A resolution was passed asking the
general assembly to simplify the form
Following the address of Mr. Query
which was well received and won a
number of friends for the tax com
mission, the nominating committee
reported and the officers as named
above were chosen. The committee
having recommended that Mr. Dun
can, Mr. Carter, Mr. Osborne and Mr.
Sutherland be included as active
members. The organization commit
tee also recommended a yearly ses
sion, which was adopted.
President Watson, just before ad
journment for the night, announced J
the following committees.
Executive, R. A. Ellison, Green
wood; T. M. McMichsel, Orangeburg;
H. C. Tallevast, Georgetown; J. B.
Legislative, A. T. Henry, Chester;
Winston Smith, Anderson ; D. W.
Dent, Lexington; H. E. Neil, York;
C. R. Wilson, Allendale; R. E. Wilder,
Sumter; Harry Tallevast, George
Arrangements, P. M. Hankinson,
Aiken; Andrew Feagan, Columbia; H.
H. Pate, Lee.
B-yLaws and Constitution, W. D.
Rowell, Bamberg; Fred G. David,
Marlboro; R. E. Causey, Hampton.
Twenty-three treasurers and 25
auditors were enrolled at the conclu-1
sion of the night session. The final
meting will begin this morning at j
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?IVIS Po? ?I?d a?!* o% SunwoSfAuj
The Blighted Cotton Crop
From the standpoint of actual p
duction, the Government's report
the condition of cotton on August
giving a percentage of 49.3 is cali
itous. From the economic standpoi
it may mean the salvation . of '
South. The ravages of the boll wee
have become so extensive that 77]
cent of the crop is affected. Long
riods of wet, cool weather conibir
to give a big weed "which boll wee
in the flush of early invasion at tai
ed voraciously, destroying all squa:
and bolls set in August, and e\
attacking the larger bolls. A ci
of 7,000,000 bales is estimated,
comparison with 13,000,000- ba
last year. Although private repp:
had pretty thoroughly forecast t
situation, confirmation by the Gc
ernment was even more pronounc
and anyone could believe possib
The response of the market-was ;
advance of 131 to 144 points.
As long as a crisis of this kind h?
to be reached, no better time cou
have been chosen. Practically eye
agency available in the South adv
cated a reduction in acreage for tl
year_s crop of 50 per cent, but su
ceeded in obtaining only 30 per cer
although this was considered a i
markable accomplishment. Natu
seems to have completed the task f
them, for another large crop on tl
heels of the large carryover from la
year would have spelled disaster. Cc
ton has been practically unsalable fi
almost a year and the prostration <
the South has been severe. Advan
ing prices for cotton will bring aboi
a revival of all business in the Sout
the effects of which will be felt 1
the whole country.
Ali this, however has to do wi1
present conditions of supply and d
mand. In the course of time it wi
be necessary to look once more to tl
South for a large production of co
ton. That will not be next year or tl
year after, but it will not be indef
nitely deferred. The American Co
ton Association has submitted a re:
erendum vote to the cotton produce]
of the fourteen cotton growing state
on the questions, first, of total elim
nation of the cotton crop for th
year 1922, and if necessary, ever
other year for the fighting of the ir
roads of the boll weevil; second, lin
itation of production for five coi
secutive years, planting only one
fourth of the cultivated lands in col
ton, with a view of producing for on
year, 1922, not in excess of 6,000]
000 bales. Results thus far tabulate
are preponderatingly in favor of to
tal elimination of the cotton ero;
next year, even the point of forcinj
it by legislation. Limitation of pro
duction for five consecutive years i
Regardless of the welfare of indi
vidual farmers, the ravages of th<
boll weevil must be stopped. Heroh
measures are necessary. All effort!
made thus far have been futile, se
that resort has practically become
necessary to the one sure method
that of omitting th? crop entirely foi
a season. If the boll weevil can be
stamped out for all time by omitting
the 1922 crop, then the raising o?
cotton should be forbidden by law
next year. From the supply stand
point, it can be done. This, however,
is considering it only from the basis
of saving future crops, and is akin
to the drastic measures necessary to
stamp out any plague.
Curtailment of production to force
higher prices is another phase of the
question entirely. It is defensible on
exactly the same grounds as the man
ufacturer shutting down his plant
when he is overstocked. The farmer
is entitled to a fair profit over his
production costs and is entitled to
adopt similar methods to the manu
facturer or any other producer. It is
legitimate to reduce production to
a point where a surplus is obviated.
To reduce production to the point
where an artificial scarcity is created
From still another viewpoint, it
might be advisable to omit a cotton
crop next year, and that would be
forcing the farmers to plant other
crops. Then they might cease. the
practice of sending to Chicago to buy
hogs tnat they can raise just as well
on their own farms. The South can
produce anything it needs in the way
of food crops, which have heretofore
been crowded out by cotton. It would
be a good thing to teach the'southern
farmers to be self-sustaining. They
work hard to raise enough cotton to
sell for enough money to buy food
when they could just as well expend
less labor by raising the food in the
first place.-New York Commercial.
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Notice of Final Discharge.
To All Whom These Presents May
Whereas, J. H. Allen has made ap
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charge as Executor in re the Estate of
Clara Penn,-deceased, on this the 23
day of Augusta, 1921.
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office at Edgefield Court House, South
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August 23, 1921.
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